What is Ubiquinone or CoQ10?
CoQ10, a shorthand for Coenzyme Q10, is also known as Vitamin Q or Ubiquinone. Ubiquinone is a quinone compound that is produced naturally in the human body. Due to its ubiquitous presence in every cell of the human body, scientists who identified this compound named it Ubiquinone. Many researchers acknowledge its properties to be vitamin-like and so it is also called Vitamin Q. However, it is technically not a true vitamin. CoQ10 works in concert with enzymes of the body. Hence, it is a ‘coenzyme’ in accelerating the efficient metabolism of nutrients.
CoQ10 is abundant in energy demanding cells. The highest concentrations of CoQ10 are reportedly present in the heart, liver, kidney and pancreas. Tissue levels of CoQ10 may decline in people who are advancing in age. Levels may not be enough when there is insufficient intake of precursor substances and when the body is faced with increased requirements during illness.
CoQ10 helps the different body cells to produce energy for the maintenance of bodily functions. Apart from its role in energy production, CoQ10 also functions as a very powerful natural antioxidant that protects the body against free radicals and various diseases.
Given the important role of CoQ10 in the human body, numerous studies were done to explore its use as a supplement in health and disease. Juan Hernandez-Camacho and his team of researchers from the Universidad Pablo de Olavide-CSIC-JA in Sevilla, Spain, and the National Institute on Aging and the National Institutes of Health in Baltimore, Maryland USA did a review of these studies and found CoQ10 to be beneficial in various conditions.
Role in cardiovascular health
Camacho and his team discovered that daily supplementation with CoQ10 significantly helped in lowering elevated blood pressure. Short term daily treatment with CoQ10 was also seen to aid in the cardiac function of patients with heart failure. It improved ejection fraction (the fraction of blood being pumped by the heart per beat). Furthermore, CoQ10 also improved the blood vessel function in patients with heart failure.
Role in metabolic health and diabetes
Camacho and his team also reported in a study that CoQ10 supplementation had a mild but significant capacity to lower fasting plasma glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.
In terms of managing blood cholesterol, there were reports that suggested that CoQ10 is very effective in reducing blood triglycerides and lipoproteins. It was also observed that CoQ10 supplementation may benefit patients taking cholesterol reducing drugs called statins by reducing statin related muscle pain and cramping.
Role in delaying functional decline in Parkinson’s Disease
Clinical measurements showed lower levels of CoQ10 and higher levels of oxidative changes in patients with Parkinson’s disease compared to nonaffected individuals. Consequently, the role of CoQ10 was further explored. Clinical trials reviewed by Camacho and his team showed that CoQ10 supplementation delays functional decline among patients suffering from neurologic conditions such as Parkinson's disease. The positive result is the improvement in cognitive function.
CoQ10 alleviates migraine
In a review published in StatPearls, researchers Britanny Sood and Michael Keenaghan also found CoQ10 to be beneficial in terms of alleviating migraine.
Sood and Keenaghan reported studies which found that supplementing with CoQ10 was three times more likely than placebo to reduce the number of migraines in the studied subjects. It was also observed that a low level of CoQ10 was seen in individuals with migraines. In the treatment process, patients with CoQ10 deficiency experienced fewer and less severe headaches. CoQ10 was also shown to decrease migraine frequency in adult migraine sufferers.
CoQ10 and exercise performance
Sood and Keenaghan also found that supplementation with CoQ10 can help increase stamina during exercise and reduce fatigue. Both effects can improve exercise performance. CoQ10 was shown to decrease pain, fatigue, and morning tiredness in patients with fibromyalgia, a musculoskeletal disorder characterized by fatigue and problems in sleep, mood and memory. Improvement of physical performance during bicycling exercise routines in healthy patients was also emphasized.
There is increasing attention towards CoQ10 especially with the emergence of studies demonstrating its favorable effects to health. Daily supplementation with CoQ10 is now being considered especially in conditions and illnesses that may benefit from this particular nutrient. Multivitamin preparations with CoQ10 are readily available allowing anyone to enjoy its benefits. It should always be remembered though that a doctor must be consulted first before taking any vitamins that you might need.
Hernández-Camacho JD, Bernier M, López-Lluch G, Navas P. Coenzyme Q10Supplementation in Aging and Disease.
Sood B, Keenaghan M. Coenzyme https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK531491/